Hello and welcome to Oakland Elementary School!
My name is Mrs. Menges, and I have been teaching 2nd grade at Oakland for a long time! Teaching is a big part of my life, but when I am not teaching or working to prepare to teach, I am busy with other interests.
There is a Mr. Menges (Ray) who is a natural areas restorationist. This means he spends a lot of time in our forest preserves and other natural areas, getting rid of invasive species and keeping the prairies and forests healthy. He is also the volunteer steward for McDonald Woods FP, so let me know if you are interested in helping out at a monthly volunteer workday! (Volunteer work hours for students can count toward scouts, high school NHS or cum laude, etc.)
We have one son (Riley) who graduated from Lakes High School. He ran cross country for Lakes, and was a member of the Chess Team there as well. He has also been active in Scouts (Troop 188), and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout! It took a lot of dedication and hard work over many years, and I am SO very proud of him. Riley is now heading off to his Sophmore year at the University of Wisconsin, majoring in microbiology.
We have a delightful pup named Sparky. He is a 6-year-old Manchester terrior, and is very active and keeps us busy! Sparky will be joining us for some of our remote lessons, so your child may be sharing some stories about him.
I have three sisters and a brother. My sisters, as well as my parents, live here in Lake County. My brother has escaped to Florida, where he works at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. He is the head videotographer there, and was even in the Dolphin Tale movies! He is always happy to meet my students and give them a behind-the-scenes tour, so if you are ever planning on being in the Clearwater area, let me know and I can hook you up! My sister Sue (Mrs. Stevens) is a recently-retired-from-District-34-teacher, and may be subbing for me if I ever need to be absent.
I love the outdoors and being active! My family does a lot of traveling, and we are on a mission to visit all 400+ National Park Sites (currently at ~180). We do a lot of hiking, camping, and backpacking. Mr. Menges and I have backpacked over 400 miles of the Appalachian Trail, in bits and pieces, and hope to someday finish the entire 2200-mile trail! Riley shares our love of hiking, and has done several high adventures with his Boy Scout Troop, including two Philmont 11-day treks in New Mexico, backpacking 5 days at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and a week of canoeing in the Boundary Waters.
We used to have a small pop-up camper that we used to travel around the country, but this summer, we upgraded to a bigger camper so we would have a bathroom and kitchen, and could travel more safely during this pandemic. In July, we traveled to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, where we camped and hiked for a week.
We are also a Blackhawks family! We love following the Hawks, and try to make it down to the city to see them play a few times a year. My sister Amy and I go to an away game each year; most recently it was the Mapleleafs game in Toronto. We try to get our picture taken with the mascot at each away game, but they often don't want to take pics with Blackhawks fans!
I am looking forward to another great year at Oakland, getting to know and love 20-some new 2nd graders, even though Remote 2.0 will look so different from other years! I am also looking forward to the day when we can be back in the building, learning and interacting safely. It's going to be a great year!!